‘It’s the little things that add up’: Couple who sold everything they had and moved into a BUS for a year have now raised enough money for a home deposit
- Catherine Coomans and her partner, Tom, quit their rented apartment last year
- They sold all of their belongings and took up a life living and working in a bus
- The couple have been on the road for a year, and have saved a housing deposit
- They caught up with FEMAIL about life on the road, and their tips for others
When Catherine Coomans and her partner, Tom, found out that their rent had gone up in Sydney, they had a novel idea to save some cash.
The young couple handed in their rental notice, sold their furniture and bought a 1997 Toyota Coaster – in which they could live out a life-long dream to live and work on the road.
Now, eighteen months later, the young couple – who run an online marketplace called Kargow – have saved enough for a house deposit in the Blue Mountains.
And while they have every intention of buying a property, they’re not sure whether they’re ready to live in it yet.
‘We are possibly thinking of renting it out for a further 12 months while we travel,’ Catherine, 29, told Daily Mail Australia.
When Catherine Coomans (pictured) and her partner, Tom, found out that their rent was going to go up in Sydney, they decided to take off in a bus to live and work for the year – and save
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Now, one year later the couple (Catherine pictured) have enough cash scraped together for a house deposit in the Blue Mountains
Despite reaching their initial goal, Catherine and Tom (pictured) said that they don’t want to give up a life on the road just yet, and hope to buy and rent out a property
The young couple first set out on the road 18 months ago, when their landlord raised their rent to an eye-watering amount and they felt priced out by the mounting Sydney market.
‘When I met Tom, he told me he had this big dream about buying a bus and travelling around,’ Catherine told Daily Mail Australia.
‘But for some reason it always got pushed aside. When our landlord increased our Sydney rent, we just knew we couldn’t afford it – we were just about to launch our website at the time and were really stretched financially.
‘And so, we went out on this long, soul-searching bushwalk, handed in our notice for the apartment and bought a bus from Gumtree.’
The couple have spent the year exploring their native Australia, citing Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia as the most incredible place they have seen
Speaking about how they have saved the money, the couple (pictured) admitted that not spending $500 a week on rent has helped – they have also cut down on eating and drinking out
One year later, the couple have travelled all over Australia exploring their native homeland.
They have travelled as far as Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia, as well as Uluru and more, all-the-while working and saving money for a housing deposit.
‘There have been so many highs to this kind of existence,’ Catherine explained.
‘One is the people that stick with you. The widowed woman who was 83 and had just completed the eight-day, 100 kilometre Great Ocean Road walk.
‘The man who stopped and helped us with a flat tyre, when we had no water and none of the right tools.
‘The couple who are travelling Australia because he was diagnosed with cancer and travelling was better than staying at home. People blow you away all the time.’
The second highlight has been ‘proving to ourselves that we could make this work.
‘We have worked really hard as well as seen the country to build up clients and save money,’ Catherine said.
‘Seeing Australia has also been incredible. It’s not until you hit the road that you realise how beautiful and huge our country is,’ she added.
‘We also don’t have phone plans, just one $60 a month internet bill. Our expenses are also a lot less without rent and utilities. We only pay $17 for gas every six weeks,’ the couple said
They have, however, managed to keep some level of structure in their working week – and admit that they work 9-5 most days from their laptops on the bus
Speaking about their experience of life on the road and how they make things work, Catherine and Tom, 30, said that being away from home and friends and family has certainly been a challenge:
How have Catherine and Tom kept costs down on the road?
* They don’t eat out.
* They make their own coffee.
* They free camp.
* They don’t have phone plans.
* They have one $60 per month internet bill.
* They spend $17 on gas every six weeks.
* They don’t pay any rent or have to cover any utilities.
* They grocery shop just once a week.
‘The ease of ringing up a friend and being able to go for a coffee or Friday night drinks has vanished,’ Catherine said.
‘But there are always people to chat to on the road and home is only ever a phone call or a flight away.’
The couple have kept their costs down by avoiding eating out, making their own coffee and free camping.
‘It’s the little things that add up,’ Catherine said.
‘We also don’t have phone plans, just one $60 a month internet bill. Our expenses are also a lot less without rent and utilities. We only pay $17 for gas every six weeks. We are saving $500 plus a week on rent.’
They have also managed to keep a sense of purpose in their working weeks:
‘Monday to Friday we will work 9-5, but we usually find it so relaxing on the bus that we end up getting as much work done as we would usually do in eight hours inside five,’ Catherine explained.
‘Of course, sometimes when we’re by the beach and the sun is shining, it’s so tempting to be outside. But so long as we get the work done, that’s the main thing.
The couple (Catherine pictured) say there is still plenty of Australia they want to see, including the East Coast and some of Tasmania
While their original business of a handmade marketplace proved a little much for the couple, Catherine said they have since gone back to basics:
‘We knew we were good at development, design and marketing and we now have several corporate companies across three states that we contract to, so business is good.’
And even though they intend to buy a property in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales in the next few months, they’re not sure whether they will move into it yet.
‘We hope to buy and put renters in, before we keep travelling for a bit,’ Catherine said. ‘We’d love to see Tasmania and a bit more of the east cost.’
The couple have also spoken about travelling as far as the US and Canada, if work allows it.
‘Living smaller, cheaper and travelling has bought us so much happiness,’ Catherine (pictured) said – saying that while it isn’t glamorous, they are less stressed, eat better and exercise more
Lastly, the 28-year-old shared her advice for those who might want to recreate their Adventures in a Bus dream:
‘I would definitely say the more you do yourself, the cheaper it is,’ she said.
‘And invest in some good solar power – it’s key if you’re working like we are,’ she added.
‘Living smaller, cheaper and travelling has bought us so much happiness,’ Catherine said.
‘It certainly isn’t glamorous everyday… but we are less stressed, eat better and exercise more. Generally life is good.’
To read more from Catherine and Tom, you can visit their blog here. You can also visit their Instagram profile here.
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